As a journalist you see a lot of nonsense from public officials and a recent piece published on VICE may show the most ridiculous example I have seen to date.
If you were not aware or have stopped caring about The Simpsons like the rest of the world did before the turn of the century you might have missed a post published online by the Department of Energy during the Trump administration called “7 Things The Simpsons Got Wrong About Nuclear” in the spring of 2018. It was basic, noted the comedy was a parody and while you’d think these facts lend themselves to a simple Freedom of Information Act request, you’d be mistaken.
Writer Aaron Gordon noted Motherboard (the tech label for the VICE empire) requested drafts and technical reviews of the content in the above referenced article. They got back pages with much of the pertinent information blacked out under the exemption which blocks the public from seeing government deliberations unless someone is in litigation with an agency and my head hurts.
What sense does it make for this to be slapped down on a parody used to inform the public? Are we going to put this same kind of thinking onto things as benign as how many employees an organization has? Why not forbid people from knowing who makes the graphics agencies like the F.B.I use on their social media accounts?
Somewhere along the line we let the societies we live in become too secretive. In Canada one has to pull teeth to get information from provincial governments and their federal counterpart (years ago I could not get public information sent to me online because the internet was not a secure connection) and the United States is not much better if the secrets behind tying into Homer Simpson are any indication.
Open things up. Do it now, do not be afraid of things which could make someone look bad and to borrow a cliched bit, what is true will end up setting you free.
Top Image via Flickr.